A huge amount of the postmortem of the Packers’ improbable comeback win against the Bears on Sunday will rightfully center on a) Aaron Rodgers miraculously coming back from getting carted off to slice and dice the Bears, and b) Mike Pettine’s defense coming up for a big stop twice on the Bears’ final drive, surviving a brutal roughing the passer penalty from Clay Matthews.
That being said, what the heck was Matt Nagy thinking on the Bears’ second to last drive? The Bears had killed over six minutes off the clock, at which point they were at 3rd-and-2 at the Packers’ 14-yard line with 2:42 remaining. Up 20-17, Nagy called for a passing play on third down and a field goal on fourth.
The right strategy for the Bears there would have been to run it on third down, and if they didn’t get it to run it on fourth. A field goal did them very little good there — it just made it so that a Packers field goal would tie them. If Green Bay had scored a touchdown, they would’ve won either way. (While the Packers didn’t end up needing nearly all the time they were allotted with the Ball because of the quick strike touchdown to Randall Cobb, the incomplete pass on third down left the Packers with a lot more time than a running play that was stopped would have.)
Nagy and Vic Fangio deserve credit for calling a masterful first half that put the Packers all the way back against the wall. But, all of that was erased in the second half when Nagy didn’t go for the jugular with the chance to put the game away on fourth down in the fourth quarter.
Note: I’m a Packers fan and was ecstatic when the Bears opted to kick instead of go for it on fourth-and-2.